- Iowa State Daily: E-Mazing Race event kicked off Engineers’ Week February 19, 2020
What if all agricultural waste could be bio-based?
Associate Professor Kurt Rosentrater and his team are trying to understand the environmental impacts -- as well as costs -- for a variety of biological, agricultural and bio-processing applications. Examples include human foods, animal feeds and biofuels.
"These tools that are used to assess the environmental and economic sustainability of new products can be used not only for new, bio-based applications, but can be used by existing businesses for existing products at any point along a supply chain," Rosentrater says. "This provides a very exciting opportunity to tie research with real-world applications. We can help make a difference!"
Using life cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis, Rosentrater's team is learning how novel technologies compare to traditional approaches. For example, they recently developed bio-based adhesives. Their work shows that these are substantially better than traditional formaldehyde adhesives. Understanding environmental benefits at an early stage of development can help companies commercialize this technology.